St. Raymond's of New York overran St. John's Prospect Hall with its superior speed and quickness in a 78-50 romp last night in the Northwest bracket championship game of the Charm City Classic at Reitz Arena.
The nation's 17th-ranked team started slowly, but took command with two minutes left in the first quarter and steadily built its margin to the finish.
"They gave us an old-fashioned butt-whipping," said St. John's coach Stu Vetter. "We realized it would be difficult for us to handle their pressure and it was. But I think this is a game we can benefit from."
St. Raymond's (14-3) has only one player over 6 feet 3 on its roster and starts what amounts to an all-guard lineup. But it has a slick orchestrator, senior point guard Kareem Reid, who distributes the ball well. The Ravens also forced the Vikings into 35 turnovers and Reid took St. John's two freshman point guards, Shike Lee (nine turnovers) and Jason Harris (five) to school.
"Our guards did a great job of getting the ball," said St. Raymond's coach Gary DeCesare. "I don't know that they could have done much even if their big guy had played. I think that would have slowed them down a little more."
The big guy is 6-9 Andrius Jurkunas, who gave St. John's 20 points and seven rebounds in only 20 minutes during a 62-58 victory over Lake Clifton on Friday.
More importantly, he enabled the Vikings (10-2) to slow the pace of that game, allowing St. John's to effectively play its motion offense. But he sprained his ankle late in the third quarter of the opener, didn't return, and was in street clothes last night.
Vetter said his team could have handled the pressure better "with his size in there. He's a stabilizing influence for us. He would have converted some of the shots we missed and made it more competitive."
ST. JOHN'S PROSPECT HALL -- Matthews 6, James 23, Stith 2, de Pablo 4, Harris 5, Michell 8, Sturgill 2. Totals: 19 9-13 50.
ST. RAYMOND'S -- Reid 22, Augustin 15, Clark 13, Harris 16, Whitfield 2, Dingle 9, Wiggerton 1. Totals: 30 14-17 78.
St. John's 8 18 8 16 -- 50
Raymond's 16 22 25 15 -- 78